Abstract

The twin choices of which ventures to pursue and when to pursue them may very well be the two most important decisions in an entrepreneur’s career. My previously-developed theoretical model (e.g., Croson (2006)) derives the optimal timing for venture launch decisions based on the entrepreneur’s return on capital, her wage forgone when she quits the corporate job, and negative cash flow from living expenses. Since the derived formula specifies the optimal timing for venture launch, it naturally follows that launching either too early or too late will reduce the NPV of the entrepreneur’s future earnings. Such an NPV loss can arise either through a pure error of timing (i.e., quitting too soon or too late), through a choice of venture with an inferior return to invested capital (e.g., committing to a 16% ROI opportunity vs. an 18% ROI opportunity), or a combination of the two (e.g., choosing an early quit time anticipating an 18% ROI opportunity, whereas the actual realized return of 16% would justify a later quit time.)

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